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Group FaceTime Pulled from Initial iOS 12 Release

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Apple has removed Group FaceTime chat from the latest iOS 12 developer beta. The feature, which was debuted at WWDC and described as being able to handle up to 32 simultaneous users will come later this fall according to Apple’s beta release notes:

Group FaceTime has been removed from the initial release of iOS 12 and will ship in a future software update later this fall.

This delay isn’t the first time that a feature announced at WWDC has been moved to a later point release of a major iOS update. Last year, AirPlay 2, Messages in iCloud, and Apple Pay Cash all missed the initial release of iOS 11.

I’m not surprised Group FaceTime needs more time. I haven’t used it extensively, but in a late July test with four participants, it was clear that it had a long way to go before it was ready for release.


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sirshannon
1 day ago
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Dooooomed.
MotherHydra
1 day ago
Does anyone want this feature? I'd say there is lower hanging fruit to be addressed.

AP: Google Tracks Your Location Even When You Disable ‘Location HIstory’

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Ryan Nakashima, reporting for the Associated Press:

Storing your minute-by-minute travels carries privacy risks and has been used by police to determine the location of suspects — such as a warrant that police in Raleigh, North Carolina, served on Google last year to find devices near a murder scene. So the company will let you “pause” a setting called Location History.

Google says that will prevent the company from remembering where you’ve been. Google’s support page on the subject states: “You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.”

That isn’t true. Even with Location History paused, some Google apps automatically store time-stamped location data without asking.

The saga of Apple Maps’s launch is long and complicated, but Google’s desire to track our location was at the heart of it. Apple wanted new features like turn-by-turn directions and vector graphic map tiles; in exchange, Google wanted iOS to allow Google to track user location more pervasively.

“If you’re going to allow users to turn off something called ‘Location History,’ then all the places where you maintain location history should be turned off,” Mayer said. “That seems like a pretty straightforward position to have.”

Google says it is being perfectly clear. […]

To stop Google from saving these location markers, the company says, users can turn off another setting, one that does not specifically reference location information. Called “Web and App Activity” and enabled by default, that setting stores a variety of information from Google apps and websites to your Google account.

Google is saying, with a straight face, that it’s perfectly clear that disabling the feature named “Location History” does not prevent Google from tracking your location history. There’s nothing surprising about this, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t shameful.

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Friday Night Creature Feature: Shoebill Stork

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It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?

Let’s get right to the creature: I came across the Shoebill Stork on twitter. Someone had posted a video of a “bird” that simply didn’t look real to me; it more closely resembled some sort of botched animatronic, some sort of Jim Henson-on-a-bad-trip muppet. I was shook. So I did some googling. And apparently this freakshow of a modern dinosaur is real. Behold…the Shoebill Stork:

Don’t worry. This is perfectly normal. I’m sure this giant stork isn’t thinking about murdering you right now.

As someone who enjoys googling weird creatures– especially prehistoric and deep sea nightmare fodder–I thought of myself as fairly jaded. I mean the Megalodon was a shark that was LITERALLY AS BIG AS A BUS. The Triassic’s tanystropheous was a reptile with a 10-foot-long neck that it used to catch fish. I’ve seen Gulper Eels. I’ve been in the trenches. I’ve seen some shit. But nothing prepared me for this nightmare creature:

I may never sleep again.

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sirshannon
4 days ago
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Your move, Australia.

Okay, my set direction is chosen

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Okay, my set direction is chosen

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sirshannon
4 days ago
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The best version of Grapevine, hands down, period, don’t at me.

A 10-Pack of Songs has been updated to A 10-Pack of Summer: A chronological ride...

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A 10-Pack of Songs has been updated to A 10-Pack of Summer: A chronological ride through Summer songs from Agua de Beber (1966) to August 10 (2018).

itunes.apple.com/us/playli…

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Newton Mail to Shut Down Service September 25th

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Newton, which began life as CloudMagic in 2013, will shut down its email subscription service on September 25, 2018. According to the company’s CEO, Rohit Nadhani:

We explored various business models but couldn’t successfully figure out profitability & growth over the long term. It was hard; the market for premium consumer mail apps is not big enough, and it faces stiff competition from high quality free apps from Google, Microsoft, and Apple. We put up a hard and honest fight, but it was not enough to overcome the bundling & platform default advantages enjoyed by the large tech companies.

CloudMagic was relaunched as a subscription email service and renamed Newton in 2016. According to Nadhani’s post, the company, which offered iOS, Mac, Android, and Windows versions of its email client, served over 4 million customers, 40,000 of whom signed up as paying subscribers.

In anticipation of the shutdown, the company has disabled signups to its service and is working with the App Store and Google Play Store to offer pro-rata refunds to annual subscribers whose subscriptions are set to expire after September 25th. Nadhani says that CloudMagic will continue to work on new projects.

Email is a tough category in which to compete. Default applications like Apple’s Mail app don’t give most users a reason to look elsewhere, and users that do want to try a different email client have many excellent free options from big companies like Google and Microsoft. For the remaining users willing to consider a paid email service or app, the competition is fierce with excellent choices like Airmail and Spark. The end of Newton is a reminder that no business model is a safe bet and even those apps and services you may be willing to pay for can’t last if others don’t feel the same as you.


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sirshannon
6 days ago
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R.I.P. the best email client :(
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